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United University Professions ‘Ready To Take On Huge Task Of Moving’ To SUNY On-Line Learning In Order To Contain Coronavirus Outbreak

Published Thursday, March 12, 2020
by UUP News
United University Professions ‘Ready To Take On Huge Task Of Moving’ To SUNY On-Line Learning In Order To Contain Coronavirus Outbreak

(ALBANY, NEW YORK) - United University Professions (UUP), the Nation’s largest higher Education Union, stands ready to work with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State University at New York (SUNY) as the University System moves to shutter classes and migrate to an on-line learning format through the end of the academic year to stem the spread of Coronavirus.

“We ‘welcome’ the Governor’s ‘acknowledgement of the severity of the crisis SUNY faces,”’ UUP President Frederick Kowal. “The ‘safety’ of our students and Members ‘is paramount.’”

Kowal said UUP has been in conversation with SUNY and the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations to address the plethora of issues confronting the University System as it begins shifting to a mostly on-line learning environment.

Some of the issues are technical, including the number of extra hours UUP-represented Employees will spend working to move coursework to on-line platforms.

Some Instructors who teach labs and other courses that can’t be taught on-line will likely return to campus to teach those classes, as will UUP Members who care for animals and those with jobs rooted on campus.

UUP will also be vigilant when it comes to the work of SUNY Medical School students, residents and Staff at SUNY’s four academic medical centers.

While the safety of students and staff is of utmost importance, UUP Officials said SUNY’s academic quality must be maintained.

“It ‘will be very challenging to move the vast majority of SUNY courses on-line,’” said Kowal, who taught on-line courses as a Professor of Political Science and Native American Studies at SUNY Cobleskill. “This is a ‘big’ step.  We will ‘take a calm, measured, common-sense approach’ as we work with SUNY and the Governor’s Office ‘to address a very difficult situation.’  ‘The health of our students and our Members is at stake and we take that very seriously.’”

UUP represents 42,000 Academic and Professional Faculty and retirees, with members at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s Public Teaching Hospitals and Health Sciences Centers in Brooklyn, Buffalo, Long Island and Syracuse.

UUP is an affiliate of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Education Association (NEA) and the AFL-CIO.

 

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